Mountain Travel

Le Massif de Charlevoix

a view of the hilly landscape at Charlevoix

Offering the highest vertical drop east of the Canadian Rockies (770 m / 2,526 ft.), Le Massif de Charlevoix is pure fun and excitement for your next ski holiday destination with your buddies!

Le Massif de Charlevoix ski area is in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, about a one-hour drive from Québec City. It offers a spectacular panorama between river and mountain and lose snow galore. It is one of the few ski areas accessible from both the base and summit and its unbeatable skiable terrain and angled slopes seeming to sweep into the sea.

The steepest trail, La Charlevoix, has a 64% pitch and is home to the only alpine training center east of the Rockies for Canada’s athletes. The resort that stretches from the top of the escarpment to the bottom is where the Saint Lawrence River flows past.

If your primary purpose is to enjoy skiing, it would be best to visit the resort from early December to late April. The mountain is also well-known for its impressive snowfall-over 669 cm annually, an above-average annual snowfall compared to other ski areas in Eastern Canada with a five-year average of 645 cm (250 in). In a typical winter, the snowpack at the summit can exceed 240 cm (90 in), while the base is near sea level and can quickly begin to melt by April.

DEVELOPMENT

Territoire Le Massif’s project aims to provide significant development in Le Massif de Charlevoix. This will lead to the opening of the third peak of the resort to skiing but mostly focuses on transforming the mountain and surrounding area into a distinctive four-seasons resort while keeping the environment’s good state.

With the budget of about $180 million in new investments, in addition to the $50 million already spent and comprised three parts:

La Ferme Hotel, services, and activities in Baie-Saint-Paul, on the site of a burned-out farm.

It opened in June 2012, received an award as first prize in the Hotel and Service Retail Category of the Retail and Leisure Interior awards in March 2013.

La Base (The Base): Services, lodging and activities at the base of Le Massif de Charlevoix, West of the village of Petite-Rivière-Saint François.

Les Crêtes (The Ridges): Services, lodging and activities at the summit of Le Massif de Charlevoix.

Landscape outside Tadoussac

HISTORY

In the 1970s, skiing at Le Massif de Charlevoix started, with snowmobiles towing groups of skiers from the main road at the top and a van serving as the lift. In the early 1980s, there were already commercial operations with la Société de développement du Massif.

In 1983–1984, school buses droved skiers from the base to the top after each run. Until the year 1992, in summer, two chairlifts were installed: a high-speed quad and a fixed-grip double.

In 2001 a significant change for Le Massif de Charlevoix took place with the construction of the new road from Route 138 to the top of the mountain that reduced the distance between Quebec City and Le Massif de Charlevoix summit was then reduced. From 95km to 70 km needed to reach the base via the village of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François.

Alpine course designer (and champion) Bernhard Russi raised the Cap Maillard by 35 m (115 ft) to create La Charlevoix, a FIS standard downhill trail mapped.

The 2006 Junior World Championships were held at the resort with technical events at Mont-Sainte-Anne. However, La Charlevoix was regarded unsuitable for hosting an Olympic downhill men’s event cutting the chances for Quebec City to host a Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, the Junior Worlds Championships returned in 2013.

The co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, Daniel Gauthier, bought Le Massif de Charlevoix in 2002. Gauthier no longer co-owned Cirque du Soleil as he used part of the proceeds of the sale of his participation in that venture to purchase Le Massif.

Starting in September 2011, a new tourist train service from Quebec City began operation and made a stop in the winter at Le Massif de Charlevoix. The train service now operates from June to October.

Check out Le Massif’s official website to have up-to-date discounts on the sporting activities, accommodations, and even helicopter tours they offer. Some of the activities they offer besides skiing are sledding, XC skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding.

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